Sydney cafe to face court over alleged non-payment of young worker

cafe franchisees, franchisee, compliance, cafe businesses

Blue Mist Entertainment Pty Ltd, which operates the Blue Mist Café in Sydney, and cafe manager Diaa Mohamed are set to face court for the alleged underpayment of a former employee.

Accordign to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the cafe operator failed to give any wages to an employee, an international student from the Philippines, who worked in the cafe for seven days in July 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector looked into the matter and subsequently issued a Compliance Notice to Blue Mist Entertainment in September 2020 upon determining that the employee was owed not only the minimum wages, but also the penalty rates for weekend work under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

The FWO alleged however that the company without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to pay the worker’s outstanding entitlements. Mohamed was allegedly involved in the breach as well.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker has vowed that the FWO will continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

“Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors to deal with apparent contraventions of the Fair Work Act or industrial instruments, most typically Modern Awards,” Parker said. “Where employers do not respond to or comply with these Notices, we will take appropriate enforcement action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties for not complying with such a Notice, in addition to back-paying workers as appropriate.”

The FWO is seeking penalties against Blue Mist Entertainment Pty Ltd of up to $33,300, as well as against Mohamed of up to $6,660. It is also seeking orders for the company to take the action required to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayment in full, plus superannuation and interest.

A hearing is scheduled in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 22 June 2021.